Of course we all knew Nucky would catch a bullet in the season finale of Boardwalk Empire. The only remaining suspense was, who would pull the trigger? Actually, Nucky took three lights-out pops from a young man that sought retribution for his mother—who Nucky wronged in earlier years.
The last episode appeared a week after the conclusion of our LCT-NLA Show East in Atlantic City. And after spending a few days in the city, and then watching the final episode of Boardwalk Empire, I was thinking about the city’s past and future.
On one hand you have the recent closing of a number of casinos followed by a barrage of media reports that basically said that the city has taken too many shots and is dead. The end of the 30-year dominate casino era at the seashore resort. On the other hand, you have new convention business and shows such as ours that see the long-term future of the city and are part of its rebirth. In fact, next year, our show will be held at the modern Harrah’s Resort and its brand new convention center, located in the growing and trendy Marina District, Nov. 8 -10.
I spoke with Gary Musich, vice president convention development of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority (ACCVA), who addressed the National Limousine Association Board of Directors during their quarterly meeting at Caesars during the show.
Musich said the city a while back adopted a long-term master plan—already in effect—that calls for a more balanced economy that relies less on casino gaming, and more on tourism, retail business sales, conventions and conferences.
“We’re at the point now where we are bottoming out on gaming, but our master plan has been in effect and our plan is to take Atlantic City backs to its roots as a top vacation resort, with casino gaming as an adjunct to that mission,” he said.
For example, Musich noted that the city’s convention business has witnessed five years of continual growth, and such mega retail giants as Bass Pro shops is breaking ground on a new 90,000-square-foot store opening on Atlantic Ave. in 2015, which will generate more regional visitors and tourists to the city.
“What you won’t read about now is the positive development going on in the city. Sure, we discuss the negatives of casino consolidations, but the other side of the story is that our five-year master is already changing the dynamics of the city,” noted Musich. He pointed out the growing Marina District and the new Harrah’s convention center, the recent purchase of the closed Revel Hotel Casino, the $55 million in room renovations going on at the Golden Nugget, and ongoing improvements to major arteries throughout the region, and expansion of airlines (United started operations recently) at the Atlantic City International airport.
“Five years from now you will see more tourism revenue coming from non-casino economy and that is where we will continue to grow and thrive.
Because of casino consolidation, the remaining hotel casinos already have posted stronger monthly gaming revenues and no doubt will reinvest in their properties to attract a new wave of tourists and gamblers, convention business. That already is happening. Nucky is dead and buried, but the rebirth of his town is starting to bloom again.
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